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Husband and wife team Renee Dua and Nick Desai started Heal in 2014 after a bad experience in an emergency room with their son. They created a startup that let doctors make house calls to see patients in their homes or via remote telemedicine appointments. Mobile health care became a huge trend during the pandemic and grew to serve patients in a number of stages.
Over seven years, Heal raised more than $120 million. But Desai started thinking about what he wanted to do next and left in March. Dua stayed on longer to finish up her work as the company’s chief medical officer. Then she also left. For a time, they focused on taking care of their family, and then they started thinking about their next startup.
That’s where HeyRenee comes in. It’s a service that has similar vibes to Heal in that it focuses on patients and using digital technology to provide better health care. In this case, HeyRenee focuses on helping the elderly, the underserved, those with chronic health conditions, and others manage their patient care. The aim is to use the concierge service to tie together all of the patients’ medical needs — from prescriptions to doctor visits — through one digital helper.
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Los Angeles-based HeyRenee will be an open platform that will eventually work with every provider, partner, and point solution to curate the necessary combination of services for each patient’s specific needs.
Quiet Capital led the oversubscribed $3.8 million funding round, with Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, Tau Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and SaaS Venture Capital also participating. HeyRenee is using seed proceeds to curate digital health partners, build a team of product and engineering leaders, and win early customers.
Dua, a practicing nephrologist, said in a statement that it’s “impossibly difficult for all of us, certainly older, sicker Americans, to follow the many instructions from their doctors.” She said those instructions are the recipe for leading happier, healthier lives, but people need help managing them.
She added that HeyRenee’s aim is to build something to finally slow the progression and exploding costs of easily treated chronic diseases, like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and mental health issues, by easing the burden of managing health care.
About 85% of the people who used telehealth options during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 had a household income over $150,000. However, the true potential of the digital health revolution is to transform care for those with the fewest financial resources, the company said. HeyRenee aims to do that by demystifying and integrating previously disconnected point solutions and providers to work together in a data-driven symphony for a delightfully easy patient-centric experience, Desai said.
Health care helper
HeyRenee intends to ease the burden of health care coordination — from appointment scheduling, in-home services, and medication delivery to telehealth and the monitoring of symptoms and vital signs via one easy-to-use app. HeyRenee won’t provide an actual personal caretaker to care for a specific patient, but such a caretaker might use HeyRenee to manage a patient’s care, Desai said.
Tau Ventures managing partner Amit Garg said in a statement that his firm invests in AI-first companies and that having a moat around data is key. He touted the founders’ experience and said he believes HeyRenee will help improve the lives of patients.
And the founders reminded us that the business is personal. In the aftermath of a surgery on her father, Dua saw his memory was greatly affected. He had new cognitive difficulties because the hospital stay wiped him out. She became his caretaker and is bringing this knowledge to HeyRenee because she believes everyone needs a “Renee” as a best friend on their health care journey.
The platform is expected to launch in 2022.
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